RITUAL TO BECOME A WITCH
Named after the Spanish village, Molina de Aragon, were it was first identified, aragonite has the same chemical composition as calcite, but with a different crystal structure that makes it harder and heavier. This striking crystal conjures up all manner of associations: a futuristic alien space city;an intrusion from an alternate reality; or the pristine expansion of order into space. Its ability to hold the imaginative mind in a form of creative trance makes aragonite a useful crystal for lateral thinking.
Identification and Care
- Crystals form long intergrown six-sided prisms around a common centre. These clusters are called “sputniks.”
- Tumbled stones often resemble solidified honey.
- Varieties of aragonite include iron flower, a fine dendritic aggregate; peastone, a mass of pea-sized lumps in a matrix; and sprudelstein, which has different coloured bands like agate.
- Pulls disparate elements together
- Provides a safe base from which to explore new possibilities.
Folk Names: Maidenhair Fern Venus Hair, Rock Fern
Powers: Beauty, Love
Magickal Uses: Immerse some maidenhair in water, then remove. If worn on the person or kept in the bedroom after this process it will grant you grace, beauty and love.Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs Scott Cunningham
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.
In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.
Krafla Volcano, Iceland
November 17, 2011
Seen above is the water-filled maar (explosion crater) of Stora-Viti on the slopes of Krafla volcano near Reykjahlid, Iceland. There are actually two craters named Viti in Iceland: the other one is on the Askja volcano in the island’s central highlands. The Viti pictured here was blasted to life in 1724 at the beginning of the Myvatnseldar (“Myvatn fires”), a series of explosions, earthquakes, fires and flowing lava that lasted five years. Krafla sits atop the mid-Atlantic Ridge, one of the most geologically active spots on Earth. After a 250-year dormant period, Krafla erupted again from 1975 to 1984 (“Krafla Fires”). With all this activity it comes as no surprise that Iceland, known for its extensive use of geothermal energy, has a power station on the mountain just south of the lake. Photo taken September 10, 2011.
Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS; Focal Length: 5.0mm; Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200); ISO equiv: 80; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
Explanation: This cosmic vista stretches almost 20 degrees across the gentle constellation Taurus. It begins at the Pleiades and ends at the Hyades, two of the best known star clusters in planet Earth’s sky. At left, the lovely Pleiades star cluster is about 400 light-years away. In a familiar celestial scene, the cluster stars shine through dusty clouds that scatter blue starlight. At right, the V-shaped Hyades cluster looks more spread out compared to the compact Pleiades and lies much closer, 150 light-years distant. Of course, the Hyades cluster stars seem anchored by bright Aldebaran, a red giant star with a yellowish appearance. But Aldebaran actually lies only 65 light-years away, by chance along the line of sight to the Hyades cluster. Faint dust clouds found near the edge of the Taurus Molecular Cloud are also evident throughout the remarkable 12 panel mosaic. The wide field of view includes the youthful star T Tauri and Hind’s variable nebula about four degrees left of Aldebaran on the sky.
Your Horoscope Holiday Heads-Up
- posted by Cait Johnson
By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).
Each sign of the zodiac embodies certain challenges and qualities. When we know what these are, our horoscope sun sign can give us such a useful heads-up on some things to watch out for in this sometimes-stressful holiday season! For instance, is your sign prone to over-socializing? You may want to rethink going to that thirteenth party. Does your sign need to run the show? You might delegate some of the responsibility before you burn right out.
Find out what your horoscope can tell you about the best way to have truly happy holidays. We even include a helpful holiday affirmation for each sun sign, right here:
Aries, March 21-April 19: Watch out for your tendency to think that only you can do everything: avoid holiday burn-out by delegating responsibilities whenever you can. And be sure to get plenty of outdoor exercise to help keep your fiery nature on an even keel: you don’t want an angry remark of yours to cause any rifts this holiday season. The holidays will still be beautiful even if everything doesn’t get done.
Taurus, April 20-May 21: Be aware that you can get just a little set in your ways around seasonal traditions. This year, try something new! Even if it only involves buying a tree you can plant after the holidays rather than a cut tree, or using your grandmother’s tablecloth on the festive table rather than the one you’ve used for years, remember: Change is good: embrace it.
Gemini, May 22-June 20: Be sure to take time as often as possible to ground and center yourself so that you can be deeply present in the moment rather than flitting from thing to thing. The deepest and most meaningful experiences are often found in stillness.
Cancer, June 21-July 22: This year, do what you can to accept and love your sensitive self as fully as possible; cultivate a positive relationship with the image in your mirror no matter how many cups of eggnog or slices of mince pie you consume. Remember, the body is the home and sanctuary of the soul. And there‘s no place like home.
Leo, July 23- Aug 22: This year, you may want to try creating opportunities for others to shine as brightly as you do: try coaching a children’s choir, or getting a group together to put on a benefit performance for a worthy cause. When we encourage others to glow, the whole world grows a little brighter.
Virgo, Aug 23-Sept 22: Your attention to detail could get compulsive unless you take some time to deeply enjoy the pleasures of the season. You might want to read up on essential oils or herbs that are seasonal allies. The earth and all her gifts are sacred and give me comfort.
Libra, Sept 23-Oct 22: Wanting to be all things to all people could lead you into an exhausting round of social obligations unless you set time aside for your own peace of mind. Maintaining a personal sense of balance is my most important task. It is not my sole responsibility to create harmony in every social situation.
Scorpio, Oct 23-Nov 21: Your easily-offended nature will have many opportunities to take umbrage unless you detach and try not to take things so personally during the festive season. Find heart’s ease in the deeper spiritual meaning of the holidays.
Sagittarius, Nov 22-Dec 21: Be wary of spreading yourself so thin and being the sparkling light in so many people’s lives that you neglect your own fire. Rekindle your spirit’s flame in the soothing dark and silence.
Capricorn, Dec 22-Jan 19: If you feel you must work hard and harder during the holidays, please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and take a break. Simply being, not producing or doing, is my first priority.
Aquarius, Jan 20-Feb 18: Be sure to set aside enough quiet time with your nearest and dearest; use your imagination to invent meaningful activities to share with those you love. I can use my creativity in the service of deeper connection with my loved ones.
Pisces, Feb 19-March 20: Your empathy with the sufferings of others will simply bring everyone around you down unless you find ways to channel it helpfully. Find something you can do on a local level to reach out and be of service. I can share in human joys as well as human suffering.